Trump decides to recognize Israel's Claim To Golan Heights

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as they meet in the Oval Office of the White House

Trump decides to recognize Israel's Claim To Golan Heights

In a joint statement Thursday, the lawmakers applauded Trump's tweet while warning of the serious security threats posed by Iran.

Under the Trump administration, the USA has repeatedly endorsed controversial Israeli positions.

The ancient Western Wall, the most sacred prayer site in Judaism, is located in the eastern part of the city that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and later annexed in a move not recognized internationally.

Photo taken on October 18, 2017 shows an Israeli flag fluttering above the wreckage of an Israeli tank sitting on a hill in the Golan Heights and overlooking the border with Syria. It later annexed the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem in moves never recognized by the global community.

The Golan Heights were seized in 1967, but officially annexed the territory in a 1981 law.

Some of Trump's biggest critics said on Thursday that Israel shouldn't be expected to relinquish that territory under the circumstances, but also castigated the president for what they described as using a serious policy decision as a sort of in-kind campaign contribution to Netanyahu. Palestinian leaders, who broke off contact with Washington after the recognition of Jerusalem by Trump, say they expect the plan to be blatantly biased in favor of Israel.

Trump's announcement provided Netanyahu's right-wing government with a boost of support from Washington ahead of his bid for a fifth term in the heated Israeli elections on April 9. The move comes weeks before Israeli general elections and reverses the position US administrations have held for decades.

With ISIS on the verge of defeat, the spotlight in the region has returned back to Israel's clashes with Syria.

Israel's leader has thanked President Donald Trump for "boldly" recognizing Israel's control over the Golan Heights.

Trump has consistently backed Israel when it comes to major regional disputes and a year ago sparked controversy and outrage among Palestinians and others when he moved the United States embassy in Israel from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem and said the USA officially recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Trump's tweet is not itself recognition, and even a formal declaration by the State Department or Congress would be little more than a symbolic move, one which some critics say could end up making a risky corner of the world even more unstable. His decision will be seen as a diplomatic coup for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Last week, the State Department dropped a reference to the Golan being under Israeli occupation.

He said the move violates UN Security Council resolution 242, "which rules out acquiring territory by war and serves Israel as it says all states have right 2 live in peace".

That's nice, but we prefer to exist in actual reality, and anyway the United States makes our own decisions with respect to issues of sovereignty. But that policy has been upended by the Trump administration.

Running for reelection under threat of indictment for corruption, Netanyahu is widely believed to be hoping that such strong U.S. diplomatic backing will help push him over the finish line.

Why does Israel want the Golan?

Trump's foreign policy team did not respond favorably to similar requests regarding the Golan Heights previous year, expressing frustration with Israeli officials for pressuring them over a major policy change so shortly after the administration recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Trump's tweet came as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Jerusalem.

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